Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gram's Gravy Recipe by Alison Henderson

It's that time of year again, and I want to share one of my favorite family holiday recipes, just in time for Thanksgiving.  I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I am now the keeper of The Family Secret.  I am the only known maker of Gram’s Gravy. 

My mother’s mother died in 1998, shortly after her 98th birthday.  Widowed at 49 and not quite five feet tall, she lived a few blocks away while I was growing up and was an essential part of our family life.  Every Thanksgiving and Christmas until she was well into her 80’s, Gram was in charge of making the turkey gravy.  There was nothing fancy about her method, no exotic additions or sophisticated techniques, but somehow she concentrated the flavors into the richest gravy imaginable.  A couple of tablespoons brought plain turkey and ho-hum stuffing to life.  We rationed our helpings to make sure the gravy would last as long as the leftovers because when it was gone, it was gone.  Powdered or bottled gravy was no substitute.

By the time I was married, my mother had lost whatever interest she might have had in cooking large holiday meals, so the task fell to me as the eldest daughter and the only one still living in town.  Fortunately, Gram was on hand to teach me the ropes.   Peering over her shoulder, I learned how to shake up just the right combination of flour and water to add to the drippings to get that perfect consistency and flavor.  I’ve now made that gravy dozens of times, and her method (I can’t call it a recipe) has never failed me.  My daughter adores it and regularly invites friends to our house for Thanksgiving and Christmas to share our family “specialty”.

Gram’s Gravy is deceptively easy.  I think the key is roasting your turkey with the stuffing inside.  I’ve never tried making gravy after roasting an unstuffed turkey, but I’m betting the stuffing adds all the necessary seasoning.  I use Pepperidge Farm original.  I also use a sturdy, old-fashioned roasting pan—no foil pan from the grocery store.

Gram’s Gravy
After roasting, remove the stuffed turkey from the pan.  Allow as much juice to drip into the roaster as possible.  Then set the turkey aside to “compose” itself before carving. If there is visible fat on the surface of the drippings, spoon most of it off.

In a small container with a tight lid (Gram used a jelly jar), combine 1/3 c. flour with 2/3 c. water.  Secure the lid and shake until well combined.

Set the pan across two burners and turn up the heat until the drippings are just bubbling.  Then add the flour/water, a little at a time, stirring constantly.  (A large slotted spoon seems to work best.)  Keep adding liquid until you have the consistency you want.  If it’s too thick, you can add water, but be careful not to dilute the flavor.  This gravy is intended to be fairly thick and intensely flavorful.

If you try this gravy, I'd love to hear how it turned out.  I don't think you'll be disappointed!


Margo Hoornstra said...

There's nothing like homemade. And a wonderful story to go with it. Here's to Gram.

Sandra Leesmith said...

WE were just looking for a gravy recipe. Loved hearing about Gram also. Don't you love those memories?

Vonnie Davis said...

Alas, I am a mashed potato and gravy kinda wide-hipped-gal. Calvin would rather have southern mac-and-cheese. I love gravy. Thanks for sharing.

Jannine Gallant said...

Sounds like your gram and my gram made the same gravy! LOL My mom makes it that way, and so do I. We do thin it out a little with water to make it last longer. You're right, leftovers without gravy just aren't the same!

Alison H. said...

Thanks, everybody. Every time I make this gravy it brings back fond memories of holidays past.